Following his previous documentary ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, iconic director Werner Herzog once again takes us deep behind the frontier of an extraordinary place. Having gained unprecedented access through the tightest of restrictions and overcome considerable technical challenges, he has captured on film, with specially designed 3D cameras, the interior of the Chauvet Cave in southern France. This is where the world’s oldest cave paintings – hundreds in number – were discovered in 1994. In the mesmerising CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, he reveals to us a breathtaking subterranean world and leads us to the 32,000-year-old artworks. In that deeply moving moment of encounter, we come face to face with pristine and astonishingly realistic drawings of horses, cattle and lions, which for the briefest second come alive in the torchlight. In true Herzogian fashion, his hypnotically engaging narration weaves in wider metaphysical contemplations as we learn more about the Paleolithic art and its creators. Through his understated and gently humorous voiceover, we are invited to reflect on our primal desire to communicate and represent the world around us, evolution and our place within it, and ultimately what it means to be human.
THE DIRECTOR – WERNER HERZOG
Werner Herzog (real name Werner H. Stipetic) was born in Munich and grew up removed from technology in a remote Bavarian village. He worked as a welder to fund the production of his first film at age 19 and has since directed more than 50 features.
He has also published more than a dozen written works and directed as many operas. His films have won numerous awards, including the special grand jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival for THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER (‘74) and best director at the Cannes Film Festival for FITZCARRALDO (‘82). His other films include: AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD (‘72), NOSFERATU (‘78), LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (‘97), GRIZZLY MAN (‘05), RESCUE DAWN (‘06), BAD LIEUTENANT (‘09) and CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (‘10).
My intellectual, spiritual awakening was in a way connected to Paleolithic cave paintings. At age 12, I spotted a book in the window of a bookstore, with a picture of a horse from the Lascaux cave on it, and an indescribable excitement took hold of me. I wanted this book, I had to have it.
As my pocket money was only one dollar a month, I started to work as a ball boy on tennis courts, and borrowed money from my brothers. At least once a week, I would check, my heart pounding, if the book was still there. Apparently, I believed this was the only one.
It took more than half a year until I could buy and open the book, and the shudder of awe and wonder has never left me.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“IT’S ALMOST LIKE WATCHING THE REINVENTION OF THE CINEMATIC MEDIUM”
“THERE ARE MANY MOMENTS HERE
THAT QUICKEN THE PULSE. MANY THAT ARE
REMARKABLE. AND A FEW THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY
SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE – WALDERMAR JANUSCZAK
“BY TURNS HILARIOUS, SURREAL, TERRIFYING AND SUBLIME – I WATCHED IN DERANGED WONDERMENT”
ROBBIE COLLIN – NEWS OF THE WORLD
“ENGROSSING STUDY OF A FASCINATING SUBJECT”
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
“PROFOUND, MYSTERIOUS AND UTTERLY ABSORBING”
“A MOVING, THRILLING TRIP OF A FILM AND
A REVERIE OF A LOST WORLD”